Filmmaker Vinta Nanda, who famously produced and wrote hit Indian TV serial from the mid-90s Tara, has accused the show's actor Alok Nath of rape and harassment.
Alok Nath is a veteran Indian actor, who has often played the cultured family patriarch in TV serials and films.
In a Facebook post yesterday, Nanda alleged that Alok Nath raped her, harassed Tara's female lead and damaged both their careers. In the post, she does not explicitly name Alok Nath, instead identifying him as an actor in Tara and "the most #Sanskaari (Cultured) person in the film and television industry." She later confirmed to IANS that she was referring to Alok Nath.
Alok Nath has responded to Nanda's allegations, saying to news channel ABP News: “Neither I am denying this nor do I would agree with it. It (rape) must have happened, but someone else would have done it. Well, I do not want to talk much about it as for the matter if it has come out, it will be stretched.”
He went on to say that “at one time she used to be such a good friend… today she said such a big thing. In a way, it was me who made her what she is. It is useless to react on the allegations as in today’s world whatever a woman says, only that will be considered. In such a situation, it would be wrong to say anything.”
In her Facebook post, Nanda said that Alok Nath harassed Tara's female lead and molested her on set when he discovered that he was being dismissed due to her complaints. Some time later, he allegedly attempted to get the female lead fired and himself rehired on the show. Nanda said that resisting the channel management's demands led to her show's cancellation and the shutdown of her production company. Tara was broadcast on ZEE TV.
Nanda also shared that Alok Nath "brutalised" at her own residence after offering to drop her home from a party. She said that despite being traumatised by the experience, she found work writing and directing a TV serial for another channel. However, Alok Nath managed to get a role in her serial, due to which she asked to be relieved from directorial duties and only write the show to avoid working with him. She shares that Alok told her to "come to his house again and I went to allow him to violate me. I needed the job and didn’t want to leave it as I needed the money."
She goes on to describe her nervous breakdown after the second assault: "I tried to pick up the threads of my life but channels and networks and sets and rehearsals started to freak me out. I continued to write, but the couple of times that I pushed myself and found the courage to pitch for shows, I would break down during meetings. Finally, I gave up."
She said it took her two decades to heal and she has waited 19 years to tell her story, adding that "The couple of times that I wrote about what I had gone through created more complications because I stopped getting work."
Film body Cine And TV Artistes' Association or CINTAA has promised to back Nanda and has sent a show cause notice asking him to explain why he should not immediately be expelled from the film body: